House plants are having a revival! Not only are these a great way of adding greenery to interiors spaces, these living organisms can assist in purifying the air and therefore enhancing the quality of life. According to NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America “plants can also help clean indoor air on Earth, which is typically far more polluted than outdoor air”.
“Plants remove toxins from air – up to 87 percent of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) every 24 hours” (NASA).
VOCs include substances like formaldehyde, Benzene and trichloroethylene all of which can be present in and around our homes and workplaces. They can be found in items such as rugs, vinyl, paints, inks, printed papers as well as household cleaners – which can be a worrying factor!
As we breathe, our bodies take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide and for plants, the opposite happens as they rely on carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Therefore, adding plants to our homes is a natural way of increasing oxygen level. When used within the workplace these can help to improve concentration, boost productivity and contribute to creativity.
Plants also release around 97% of the water they take in, which can increase the humidity in the air and help reduce respiratory problems.
For those of us that are not green fingered or find our plants do not last longer than a few months due to under or over watering then start with a plant that is easy to care for.
Here are 5 recommended house plants that can help introduce a breath of fresh air into our homes and workplaces.
This ‘Hedera’ ivy with decorative white veining on the leaves is fast growing and will thrive both indoors and outdoors. They are perfectly placed on shelving, where the greenery can cascade down the wall and soft the angular lines. A great contrast against the white walls.
House plants have a calming and relaxing effect on the environment and can fit well in any room whether be a bedroom, dining room, kitchen, bathroom or office. You do however need to think about their location as some can tolerate direct sunlight whereas others prefer a shadier spot.
The Aloe plant will appreciate any type of sunny window sill. Not only will this help to purify the air the gel inside is renowned for its medicinal purposes and can help heal cut and burns, making this ideal for kitchen and bathrooms. According to the National Institutes of Health:
“People have been using aloe vera for more than 6,000 years when it was known as “the plant of immortality” in early Egypt. It was used for skin conditions and to heal wounds, as well as used as a laxative”.
With the revival of Mid-Century design, it seems only natural that the cactus is fast becoming the new favourite indoor plant. These inexpensive plants are available in all shapes and sizes and feature an array of unusual textures. They look great either on their own or when grouped together in decorative pots.
This architectural looking plant will add a statement to any space. Mother-in-law’s Tongue, also known as ‘Snake Plant’ and ‘Tiger’s Tail ‘is another popular plant used medicinally in many cultures for centuries. The leaves and rhizomes (the underground stems that put out lateral shoots) can be used to treat asthma, bronchitis and coughs, as well as for insect and snake bites.
Succulents are resilient and low maintenance plants with juicy leaves, stems and roots and come in a variety of colours ranging from blue, pink, yellow and green. They like the dry humidity and warm conditions found in most homes, along with direct light, but they can also adapt to lower light levels. They prefer not to be watered too often, making this ideal for the ‘forgetful ‘plant owner. They look stunning planted in clusters in a terrarium or try planting individually and hanging in a window.